Crazy horses

January 25th, 2003

This site has been up and down like a yo yo over the last few days. Our host, Domain Domain have been undertaking a ‘complete infrastructure upgrade’. Out with the old, in with the new. Technological transitions are never as easy as you think they’re going to be and I’m actually quite surprised that most of this site remains intact.

The bits that are no longer with us include the MySQL database that held all the blog data, the complete Movable Type content management system and all the CGI scripts that drove things like email form handlers. All gone, but completely unrelated is the handy little stat counter that was installed after the demise of the much loved web site garage ‘hitometer’. Of course hit counters are such a web faux-par that we shan’t be shedding too many tears over that one.

Rather than dwell on the massive task of re-installing Movable Type on this new server I have decided to apply the long-needed revamp to the site. I wasn’t planning on letting this thing loose until at least May but, what the hell – here it is.

Regular readers will notice that the top menu has changed. Now we have just ‘Home’, ‘Search’, ‘Map’ and ‘Exit’ at the top of the page. I feel these are the most important links for any casual user. Most new users come to the site via Google searches and will probably find these menus are a lot more help than ‘Guy’, ‘Helen’, ‘Message Board’ etc. These areas still exist and links to them can be found either on the home page or the site map. The right hand column now contains links to certain areas within the sites as well as links to sites that I regularly read. You may find these interesting, you may not. You can also find out about the site and the author through the hand links under the picture.

The blue colour scheme remains for all who can see it. The site is now completely CSS based and (hopefully) validates against the W3C HTML/CSS validators. This means the site is more accessible to partially sighted users as well as users will old, crumbling browsers. If you use one of aforementioned browsers, I am working on a basic style sheet so you can see at least some of the design. I have chosen a lighter blue for links. This might be a mistake. Some Mac users may find this blue too light. I would love to know if it is – it’s easily changed. My brother Hugh, is designing me a logo. Where it will go – nobody knows.

GuyWeb still uses the Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helevetica, san-serif family of fonts for the main body text. Verdana is on most computers, Geneva on at least the Mac and Arial or Helvetica as a last resort. San-serif will make reading easier on Unix platforms. Verdana is the font of choice as it remains the easiest font to read at small sizes when anti-aliased and when non-anti-aliased. The text in the second column, header and footer adds another font to the list – ‘Trebuchet MS’ – a font that not everybody will have. If you haven’t – you still get verdana. Headers 1 to 3 are in Arial (looks better at larger sizes) and headers 4 to 6 are yet again in Verdana (looks better at smaller sizes).

Rather than aligning to the left of the page, the site now sits in the middle of the browser and is fixed width. The beauty of CSS is that I can make the layout liquid (fit to the full width of any browser window) by simply modifying a style sheet. site is designed to fit into resolutions of as a low as 640px. Anything less than that (PDA/Web TV) and you’re going to have to scroll a little to the right. My site stats tell me that currently nobody uses this site with such a setup. A mere 1% have a monitor with a 640xpx resolution. Please let me know if this site does not meet your requirement.

The main part of the site – the blog is no longer ordered by date, then by post. Now, it is still in chronological order but following the: title, post, date, time pattern. I feel this makes for easier reading and doesn’t force me to write endless bollox to fill up a day. Until Movable Type is re-instated, none of the previous comments will work. The comment link now points to the new, improved message board. Leave your comment there and I will endeavor to put it in.

As I explained in a previous post, I’m knocking Funky Dung on the head. This blog will now contain everything I deign to write about be it web, music, life or anything. Rather than categorise individual posts, I will make it obvious as to what topic I’m talking about within each post. This seems more natural and will aid the flow of my writing.

There is currently no XML/RSS feed available. This feature was automatically generated by Movable Type. As soon as this feature is reinstate, you will once again be able to grab a feed.

Despite the recent unpredictability of this site I’m eternally grateful to all the people who visit this site on a regular basis. Once this whole ‘architecture’ thing is sorted, I’m sure things will be much better. If you are a regular reader and would like to receive updates about the site every now and then, please join the mailing list.

I’m pretty sure you wont find too many of these. If you do, please contact me and I will try to fix it.

This is phase 1 of the GuyWeb re-hash. There’s lots more to come. Dreamweaver may be rubbish at a lot of things but the template system is the best I’ve got right now! As I modify HTML and CSS and create new templates to use I will be able to quickly put new pages live.

This redesign would not have been quite as easy without the TopStyle CSS/XHTML editor. Cheers Nick.